After months of serious negotiation, the Brooklyn Nets have finally acquired James Harden from the Houston Rockets, fulfilling their dream of adding a third star that would help Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving carry the team in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, the four-team blockbuster deal left the Nets with a shallow frontcourt depth, especially after they lost Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luckily, though they could no longer afford to trade for an All-Star caliber center, there are plenty of quality big men that Brooklyn could get for a cheap price before the 2021 trade deadline.
In a recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report named three centers that the Nets could target this season. These include JaVale McGee of the Cavaliers, Nerlens Noel of the New York Knicks, and Aron Baynes of the Toronto Raptors.
“Noel is averaging 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per 36 minutes with the New York Knicks this season and would be an upgrade over DeAndre Jordan. He’s athletic enough to switch out on the perimeter and has been a solid rim protector throughout his career. Baynes would give the Nets some spacing from the center position, and McGee will almost certainly be on his way out of Cleveland after the Cavs traded for Allen.”
Of all the three big men, McGee is the most likely to be moved before the 2021 trade deadline. The recent arrival of Allen in Cleveland has created a logjam in the Cavaliers’ frontcourt. If they would be forced to choose between McGee, Andre Drummond, and Allen, it would be a no-brainer for Cleveland to let the former Shaqtin’ a Fool MVP go.
McGee would be an interesting addition to the Nets. Aside from having plenty of championship experience, he wouldn’t also have a hard time making himself fit in Brooklyn since he once played alongside Durant on the Golden State Warriors.
Noel’s statistics this season may not be impressive but when he’s given enough playing time, Swartz believes that he would be an upgrade over DeAndre Jordan at the starting center position. Noel would be an incredible replacement for Allen, giving Brooklyn another young body in their frontcourt who specializes in protecting the rim.
Meanwhile, unlike McGee and Noel, Baynes is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc which could greatly benefit the three Nets’ superstars. Having a center who could space the floor would make it easier for Irving, Durant, and Harden to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.